U.S. Treaty with Tripoli (1796)

Famous for Article 11:

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Related:
Wikipedia’s entry on the Treaty with Tripoli

I Give Up (or The Sound of Silence)

This is what the last 45 minutes have been like for me:

1:45pm: Received a call from my wife who is laying over in Paris. She is sick as a dog and isn’t even sure if she’ll be able to make her flight home tomorrow. She gives me the number for her hotel and her extension.

1:50pm: I go to the atm to get money to buy an international calling card. My balance is short by a couple hundred dollars… Huh?

1:52pm: I make my way through Harvard Square trying to figure out why my bank account is short and pass by a street musician with a huge amplifier singing The Sound of Silence. You want to know what the sound of silence sounds like through a Marshall amplifier? Not all that fucking silent.

2:05pm: Back in my office and I can still hear the street musician singing The Sound of Silence. Is this the extended version or is that the only song in his repertoire?

2:08pm: Bank charged me twice for my monthly T pass (my T pass is $181). Gotta call them.

2:09pm: Dialed their number and reached their automated menu system.

2:10pm: Still in their automated menu system.

2:12pm: Still in their automated menu system.

2:15pm: Still in their automated menu system. The Sound of Silence still going on outside.

2:18pm: I hit the wrong button in the automated menu system. Now I have to start from the beginning. The street musician finishes The Sound of Silence. I may let him live.

2:22pm: Finally reach someone who sounds at least half human if not in the least bit interested. The bank screwed up and charged transactions for September 1st again on October 2nd. She says that they won’t charge people who have negative balances because of this error. I ask for her secret of keeping a straight face when she says that.

2:24pm: I try calling the wife at her Paris hotel. Ok, I need 011 to get out of the US, the French country code, Paris’ city code… shit, Paris has three city codes. I guess I can use brute force since there are only three permutations.

2:25pm: I try all three and get a voice mail, a dead line and a very nice person who doesn’t sound like a hotel at all and seems perplexed when I panic and keep saying the word “fromage”.

2:26pm: I realize that the phonebook is written by liars and is nothing more than a big yellow book of propaganda and stop trying to dial a city code for Paris and just dial 1 instead. I think I get a hotel and panic again when I realize I don’t know the french word for “extension”. I dig way back to my high school french class and say “un, huit, quartre, deux”. The lady then says “You mean one eight four two?” Si!

2:28pm: I talk to my wife who says she managed to eat a little and will try to deadhead home tomorrow.

2:30pm: Feeling somewhat better, I go to bloglines to relax a bit and find something to blog about.

2:30pm: “Bloglines is down for maintenance……” The Sound of Silence starts up again outside…

The Women of Star Trek

This page was born because of my righteous anger at Trek “fans” who repeatedly talk about “Playboy Kirk” or the Star Trek “Babes” in an appallingly sexist way. Here’s proof that Kirk was NOT a playboy and Star Trek was NOT a sexist show. It was an anti-sexist show: one of the first, and one of the all-time best.

From now on, when anyone rolls into the Trek fan forum, spits their gum out onto the floor, and oafishly declares that Kirk was a heterosexual horndog who porked all of the chicks, I want you all to boldly and confidently SCOFF at them. Scoff also if they say that all the TOS women were bimbos in miniskirts who were nothing but eye-candy. The only proper reaction to such ill-informed opinions is round, sound scoffery… as I herein demonstrate.

(via SF Signal)